Label: Art Is Hard Release date: 06/09/10 Link: Art Is Hard Site I have to say, being the elitist dickhead I am, when I read in the press release for this the following sentence: ‘The bands are all based in the South West - an area of the UK massively ignored when it comes to new music’ I thought to myself smugly ‘There’s a reason for that’. Oh how wrong I was. What we’re given here in this 9 track sampler are 9 very good and individual bands that deserve all the attention they get. And I’d only heard of one of them. (It’s Colours, for the record). Well, I say that it’s a sampler; it’s actually a t-shirt with a download code for the music, which is novel, if not a bit irritating. I think to describe this compilation as a whole would be unfair to each of the individual bands, because they all deserve attention, so this will be quite a long review, going through it all track by track. Dutch Husband - ‘Gratitude‘: Dutch Husband bring to the table something that doesn’t sound dissimilar to Lovvers if they got into US slacker rock. The ‘ooh’ parts stick in your head for ages. Colours - ‘Desert Dessert’: Colours bring us some really good lo fi stuff that sounds like Jesus and Mary Chain sped up and with a chanting voice. Building it up through a massive wall of sound, this is not just another band that substitutes lack of talent for noise, this is good stuff. They That Cried Wolf - ‘We’re Like A Boat Without Paddles‘: Possibly the most pop song on here, they sound like a cross between Frightened Rabbit and The Libertines. Not my thing really, but it’s made really well. Cycling Season - ‘1943‘: The first thing that sticks out from this is the organ part and the recording process – the way this is recorded makes sound flatter and older than some of the others, which is kind of appropriate because it fantasises a wartime romance. A kind of literature student take on a pop song. My Name Is Ian - ‘If I’d Only Tried‘: More on the acoustic side of indie, My Name Is Ian give us a song full of poetry. It pales slightly against the rest of these mostly noisier groups, but it still holds its own. Not an amazing song, but competent. True Swamp Neglect - ‘Map Of The Map‘: Map Of The Map build on what My name Is Ian started, and make it epic. It roars and drops and breaks (the ending is brilliant) and makes another damn fine song. Mojito Soundystem - ‘Post‘: A funky jam. A great bass line that takes the song and pushes it, duelled with twangly guitar, it’s just the right side of interesting, and it all builds up to one of those ethereal voices that will enhance no matter what it says. It’s a real grower and one of the simplest ways I’ve heard someone make something completely new and interesting. Kinnie The Explorer - Blind Spider: A slow burning song that rolls through a very simple texture but makes it sound so interesting and good. It’s not too far removed from the guitars of Women (but less eratic and atonal) or the wild and soothing feel of Galaxie 500 (but less fuzzy), a really interesting song. Cycle Schmeichel - ‘Bitchin’: For starters, what a name. And they live up to the awesomeness of the name, and the song is indeed Bitchin’. Noisy, complex guitar work punk that never stops for a breath. To get it to work for over 3 minutes is something of a surprise, especially when the opening minute sounds like a song in itself, but they take the Les Savy Fav approach and start off with an entropic complex mess and evolve it into a song and push it to make a song that, while good on record, must be even better live. What other reason do you need? A brilliant album that helps you find new bands and t-shirt for £9, on a limited run of 50(!). And it’s named after a Pavement song. Buy it before it’s sold out, it’ll introduce you to some of the most interesting new bands on the scene. Photobucket